The slogan ‘Reduce, reuse and recycle‘has as its main objective the environmental care with regard to consumer behavior: the three words should function as axes and horizons for the sustainable behavior of families, and also of companies.
The slogan, coined by the non-governmental organization Greenpeace, is easy to interpret, and the scope of each term is not too greater than what is seen at first glance:
- Reduction. It refers to the decreasing generation of waste based on the exhaustive selection of those goods that are markedly necessary.
- Reuse Consists in ‘get the most out of it‘to the goods that one has already decided to use since the norm is to dispose of them long before their maximum potential.
- Recycling. There is the conviction that, once discarded, it is very likely that, totally or partially, it will be used for the generation of new goods, and it will not be a completely discarded object.
The “three R“, Name by which this is usually known ecological circuit, have a chronological dimension that unfolds throughout the consumption process: prior to the decision to purchase a product, during use of it and once its productive facet in society is completed.
If you think about it the other way around, the three essential elements for environmental care are at the same time three doctrines on which the consumer society is generally based: the increase in consumer goods is contrary to the reduction, the message of discarding things and buying a new one is against reuse, and finally The created idea of the inconveniences and high costs of recycling is openly against recycling. Since the beginning of the new century, certain companies have made the decision to generate an image favorable to the sustainable use of resources, which sometimes generates a certain contradiction with their commercial aspirations.
The message of the ‘three Rs’ it is clear and concrete: this is why it is easy to disseminate. To better illustrate what is being said with it, some examples of each of the activities promoted by this message will be listed here.
Examples of reduce
- Have the prudence to think before each purchase if it is strictly necessary.
- Limit the use of disposable products as much as possible.
- Turn off all lights that are not in use in the house.
- Turn off the water tap when one is washing dishes, in the part that does not require the use of water.
- Limit the use of products with too much wrapping or packaging.
- Bring your own bag to the market, so as not to need a new one there.
- Close the water tap well after use.
- Use the devices to the maximum of their potential, in such a way as to optimize the number of uses.
- Reduce the emission of polluting gases.
Examples of reuse
- Participate in the opportunities to consume returnable (bottles, containers)
- Use the paper on both sides.
- Use the boxes and packaging of certain products for others.
- Adapt the functionalities of products that do not have a marked use, such as jars that are transformed into glasses.
- Have an open mind when it comes to goods with a lot of flexibility in their treatment, such as wood that can often be modified in many ways.
- Giving away clothes whose size is no longer suitable for us or our children.
Examples of recycling
- Modify the apparent residues in such a way as to obtain a new product suitable for consumption. This is not too common, and it excels at transforming bottles into glasses, newspapers into linings or wrappers, drums into chairs, and notebooks into books.
- Separate the waste around its conditions for recycling. The colors of the containers have an organization for this purpose.
- In glass and plastics, heating them can give it a new shape.
- Organic matter (where food scraps appear) is often useful as compost for the soil.
- Put special emphasis on the goods that take the longest to degrade from nature, such as soda or beer cans.